EXCLUSIVE: Man who lost job after complaint over ‘Walking Dead’ toy speaks with CBS 17

Wake County News

A former State Employees’ Credit Union employee accused of having racist toys in his office is sharing his side of the story with CBS 17 after he lost his job at the bank.

“I would just really appreciate it if people did not think that I was a racist or anything like that,” Matt Anderson said.

PREVIOUS STORY: Raleigh bank employee’s ‘Walking Dead’ toy labeled as racist by customer

Anderson wants people to hear that message after an African-American customer at the Louisburg Road branch of SECU accused him of racism.

The customer uploaded pictures of figurines in Anderson’s office that she deemed offensive. The toys were characters from the AMC show “The Walking Dead.”

One of the toys is a black man who has become a zombie and has a chain around his neck. In the popular television show, a female African-American character named Michonne keeps two armless zombies as pets.

Anderson said the customer asked him what the figurines were.

“‘Have you ever seen the show?’ She didn’t respond to my question. She just said that she was offended and I asked her, ‘Well, why were you offended?’ because I wanted to know so that I could apologize to her,” he said.

He said the woman didn’t respond and instead complained to his boss. Anderson said he has since lost his job after less than a year working there.

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“The credit union has not given me an official reason for letting me go. The initial reaction was that I shared customer information, however that’s not true. I wouldn’t ever do that,” he said.

He admits to discussing it with a friend and on Facebook.

“I did not reveal anyone’s information. There was no personal identifiable information transmitted at any point during anything I made online or otherwise,” he said.

Anderson said he was a history major in college and studied African history. The toys were given to him by another customer.

“I’m sorry that anyone took them the wrong way. That was definitely not my intention and I would have apologized immediately if I had been given an opportunity to,” he said.

SECU declined to comment on his employment status, but said in part, “We took immediate steps to address this personnel matter.”

Now, Anderson said he just wants the threats he and his fiancé have received to stop.

“I hope that me and my fiancé will stop received threats of violence. That’s really the biggest thing,” he said.

As for the woman who complained about the toys, he said, “I don’t really blame her, necessarily, for being upset, but I do kind of blame her for not handling her feelings in a more mature way and discussing them more openly.”

The customer did not respond to CBS 17’s request for comment.

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